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http://www.themercury.com.au/article/20 ... stice.html
CYCLIST have denounced as too lenient the penalty handed down to a Hobart teacher who set a mantrap for riders on a Mt Wellington bike track. Sorell High School teacher Stephen John De Lai was today sentenced to two years probation for stringing a wire across the path on October 27 last year.
The 48-year-old South Hobart resident had a change of heart when he heard riders approaching, warned them of the danger and took the wire down himself. The president of Hobart Dirt Devils mountain bike club Simon French said De Lai could have killed someone and a tougher sentence was called for.
"I think the sentence is pretty light given the magnitude of what could have happened if someone had fallen prey to it," he said.
"You could quite easily kill someone setting a trap like that.
"Logs and branches and all sorts of other things are quite commonly placed across trails, it's a bit of a vigilante response from a minority.
"Fortunately nobody has been seriously injured yet ... I think we've been quite lucky so far."
He said a spate of incidents over recent years had caused mountain bike riders to be anxious about their safety.
"It has changed the way a lot of people ride. You used to be able to relax and not think about it, but now there's a niggling thought that there's a wire around the next corner that you're not going be able to see."
De Lai pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court to causing a common nuisance. The court heard he had a grievance with mountain bike riders who passed too fast when he was out walking his dog. Justice Helen Wood rejected defence pleas to let De Lai off without a conviction for his momentary lapse in good character, saying that there was a need to send a message that such behaviour was unacceptable. The judge said that a jail term was appropriate in all but the most exceptional of such cases, but the high regard in which De Lai was held for his work with under privileged students meant he was such a case. Justice Wood ordered he submit to supervised probation for two years and be of good behaviour for the same period. Outside the court a contrite De Lai apologised for his actions and said he wanted to move on with his life.
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